Midnight Dentists is a website and network of dentists that specializes in after-hours dentistry. All of the members of the dental network would have hours of operation after 6pm (local time) and would be open until 1am.
The Problem It Solves
Your average secretary, office worker and young professional has a challenge. How to get dental care without having to take the day off of work. A day off of work equals a net loss in income, productivity, and also exposes them to negative consequences depending on the establishment. Even if they have dental benefits, they may not use them if they open themselves up to these negative consequences in order to exercise those benefits.
How It Solves The Problem
The Midnight Dentist network has a a wide connection of dentists all of which are open after normal business hours. The user merely types in their zip code and a host of dentists in their area that can take them as patients. A user can book online, request more info about the dentist’s education, rates, length of practice and whether and what kind of benefits they accept.
The average person these days that does not have a dentist already is concerned with a few things.
- Does my dentist take my insurance?
- Does my dentist have hours that accommodate my schedule?
- Are their positive (and negative) reviews available to tell me about her performance, office demeanor and ethics? (Does she push for unnecessary services.)
A user will not be so consumed with whether or not the dentist went to Columbia or USC as much as they are concerned about other items.
How to Launch
I propose that you approach dentists already in place and ask them if they would be willing to have 2 days where their hours are 6pm to 1am. If not, ask them if they would be willing to sublet their space for our purposes.
Effectively keeping the office open for later hours, but installing another dentist in their place. Obviously their motivation would be the rent paid to them (plus money for use of the equipment.) This would make for substantial savings over opening new offices and would keep the dentist ‘density’ the same. In some cases, new offices would need to be opened in order to have full coverage in that area.
1-800-DENTIST – my plan would entail leveraging their database in lieu of a stock position in Midnight Dentist. We would contact the dentists in their DB and offer them the the opportunity of working with us. Not only does not hurt 1-800-DENTIST, but it actually improves their level of service!
Our dentists would be available through their network, but we could not offer the same to theirs as the hours are not appropriate. However, this could easily become Win-Win.
In doing my research, 1-800-DENTIST was the only serious competition of any kind. The other websites that specialize in Dentist search were cheesy and extremely localized.
How to Launch
I propose taking Los Angeles first and then working out the bugs, spread to NYC, Chicago and Houston. Having the four major US Cities under our belt would give momentum to taking on the other 200 demographic zones or so zones in the US.
Need For Capital
The initial need would be for salaries and startup equiptment. Rent, Internet access and utilities for three months. Initial outlay to purchase contact lists of local dentists, unless a partnership is established with 1-800-DENTIST and the like. Need would hover about $50,000 to start with.
Hire someone that has massive experience in building this sort of network. Next, analyze how 1-800-DENTIST stands alone in its field. I just sent in my info and was greeted with a polite email and also will be getting a call tonight.
They offer 3 referrals; all free. Obviously the dentist is paying for the service. It’s pretty ingenious. Our program would do well to imitate what is working and improve on what is not. It does not look like you can book online at 1-800-DENTIST, I was thinking we could offer that. Unless there is a compelling reason not to.
Obviously developing a base of users quickly is the main challenge. Aside from getting a list of 30 or so dentists to buy-in at the onset (for Los Angeles only.) So money would be needed for massive advertising. To get the ball rolling. Probably $20,00 over the first 3 months.